The Cape Town Water Crisis is being alleviated due to the heavy rains and snow that the city has been receiving but other parts of the Western Cape are still facing drought conditions.

The French government along with the Western Cape Provincial government are working together to implement the first ever R9-million solar desalination plant in Witsand, near the Breede River. The cost of the solar desalination plant will be shared between the two governments and will aid the drought crisis in the area.

There are four desalination plants in the Western Cape with three located in Cape Town and one in Mossel Bay.

This will be the first and only solar desalination plant in the province.

Desalination involves a large amount of energy to produce clean and drinkable water from a salt water source. The process uses fossil fuels to create energy and this releases Carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change.

Solar desalination plants are used for small scale conversions in a smaller area as they take a longer time to process.

The plant is ideal for the small seaside town of Witsand and will deliver 100 kilo-litres of fresh water daily.

The Osmosum technology used in the desalination plant was developed by Mascara Renewable Water, a French company and was brought to South Africa by Turnkey Water Solutions (TWS). The reverse osmosis technology is a first for the world as it is coupled with photovoltaic energy (producing energy from solar cells) without the use of batteries.

The use of reverse osmosis is designed to supply coastal communities with water for human use.

The French Ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, and Western Cape Finance MEC, Ivan Meyer, attended the launch of the project on 16 July. The project will begin construction at the end of October 2018.

According to TimesLIVE, Meyer said the drought had hit Witsand harshly causing the community to suffer severe water shortages during the warmer months when tourists and holiday makers visit the area

Picture: Unsplash

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about social issues, the environment and current affairs.